Delays Can’t Damper Queen Margrethe’s Birthday Celebrations
Queen Margrethe has marked her seventieth birthday, with birthday celebrations running for three weeks in the lead up to April 16th, her actual birthday.
The first four events ran between March 24th and April 9th, and consisted of exhibition openings at the Moesgaard Museum, the Skovgaard Museum, the Amalienborg Museum and the Frederiksborg Museum. These exhibitions showcased the Queen’s hobbies of archaeology, her ‘life-work’ in art starting at her childhood, her life in photographs and objects, and her life officially and privately paralleling her life with the events in Denmark’s history. Queen Margrethe was accompanied by her husband, Prince Henrik, eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, and daughter-in-law Crown Princess Mary for the final two exhibitions.
On April 13th, the first of the ‘jewel-fest’ events took place at Christiansborg Palace – a banquet dinner for official Denmark. The Danish Royal Family was in attendance, as was Queen Margrethe’s younger sister Princess Benedikte and her husband, Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. Queen Margrethe and Crown Princess Mary each recycled past evening gowns – the Queen in the altered fuchsia overcoat from the Crown Prince’s 2004 wedding, the Crown Princess in the red gown from her pre-wedding opera gala – while Princess Marie wore a new long-sleeved white gown. Queen Margrethe wore the diamond and pearl parure from the Danish collection, and both Princesses wore their wedding tiaras.
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen headed up the guests from the Danish government, as well as those from Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Queen thanked the guests from these two nations in her speech later in the evening, “It may be far from Copenhagen to Torshavn or Nuuk, but for me the distance never seemed exemplary or the many miles incalculable.” During the course of the evening, Danish magician Rune Klan approached the Queen and asked her to select a slice of sandwich ham and remember it. He then conjured up the slice of ham as part of the evening’s entertainment, to the delight of all the guests.
Two days later, in the morning of April 15th, it appeared that the birthday celebration’s could lose some of its royal guests which were scheduled to attend. A volcano in Iceland, which had began seismic activity at the end of 2009, erupted on April 14th, sending ash and smoke across north-western Europe. This caused several nations to close all airports as a safety precaution. Norway’s airspace was closed that same day, with neighbouring Sweden and Denmark closing on April 15th. This meant that royals guests from Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Belgium and Greece had to find alternative sources of transportation to the festivities (the closures led to the cancellation of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain and the Duke and Duchess of Brabant’s attendance, as well as the rumoured attendance of the Duke of Edinburgh). It remained to be unseen until the beginning of the gala at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen as to who would be there, and who wouldn’t.
As the royal bus arrived at the theatre, the Queen’s sons and daughters-in-law were joined by both of the Queen’s sisters and their husbands, Prince Gustav and Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and their respective partners, Princess Alexia of Greece, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria who brought along her fiancee, Daniel Westling, and brother Prince Carl Philip, and Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden arrived during the intermission, having travelled by car to Copenhagen. Several hours later, and the royals retired to their respective accommodations for the night. Meanwhile, Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands were chugging their way to Denmark aboard the recently restored royal carriage which was attached to the back of an Amsterdam-Copenhagen night train at the last minute.
The following day, April 16th, Queen Margrethe was awoken by canons at Fredensborg Palace. The staff of the Palace and the guests staying with the Crown Prince Couple at Chancellory House convened in the courtyard to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the birthday girl (see video), much like they did last June when Prince Henrik turned 75. From there, the party moved to Amalienborg where the Queen and her immediate family appeared on one of the Palace balconies, as they do each year on April 16. This year, on his farmor’s 70th birthday, little Prince Henrik made his balcony debut; while Prince Henrik Sr brought images of Michael Jackson to some watchers minds when he allowed Princess Isabella to stand on the balcony railing. Crown Princess Mary quickly took her daughter back into her possession (and swiftly moved to the opposite end of the balcony) before the Queen led the crowd in a rendition of happy birthday.
A luncheon was later held at the Copenhagen City Hall for all the royal guests, to which Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik arrived by the royal carriage. Queen Margrethe gave another speech, thanking the Mayor of Copenhagen for the reception; before going on to praise the city itself. “Copenhagen is the capital of the kingdom, but it is also my city: here I am born and bred, I live here and have my work,” she said after briefly mentioning some of the changes to occur in Copenhagen since the beginning of her reign.
That evening, the final event – a banquet at Fredensborg Palace – was held for all the royal guests and the Queen’s personal friends. The Crown Princely Couples of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands arrived to the party by foot, coming from Frederik and Mary’s home at Chancellory House. Other guests arrived by car and bus, while several royals were staying at the Palace with the Queen. Speeches were given by Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Henrik and the birthday girl herself. Frederik even quoted his grandfather, the late King Frederik IX, in his speech, saying how the King would say to Margrethe “Well done, my girl”. Prince Henrik welcomed all the guests, saying how the day was special for many people: “It’s not just because my wife and my children’s mother turns round [birthday]. It is also a Queen, whose nation is behind the desire for your happiness, today and tomorrow.” Queen Margrethe thanked her eldest son in her speech, mentioning both sons and their wives: “Both you and Mary, Joachim and Marie are my great happiness. I and Papa, with your beautiful children, have made us very happy grandparents.”
Click here to view the birthday thread at TRF.Filed under Denmark
Tagged Birthday, Exhibition, Margrethe II of Denmark.